SILVER SPRING, Md. - This summer, athletes from all over the country will represent the United States in the Olympics. One Maryland athlete is hoping to join them in the near future thanks to quick feet, a tactical mind and adept swordsmanship.
In 92 years of Olympic fencing, an American woman has never medaled in épée.
Tucked away in the corner of a Silver Spring industrial plaza is a young woman who could be the first to wear the Stars and Stripes on the medal stand.
“There are big moments when I'm like, 'Am I actually good? Am I really good?'” said 20-year-old Amanda Sirico.
Oh, she's good. Sirico is currently the No. 1 ranked junior fencer in the United States and is training for her final junior world championships next week in France.
“She's not a very big girl, and she compensates with fantastic technique, great footwork, speed and great operational thinking,” said Janusz Smolenski, Sirico’s coach.
“There's an art to tricking the person, which is my favorite part of fencing,” said Sirico. “You set them up so you can trick them and get them to do exactly what you want.”
The Siricos are a family of fencers. Both of her parents fenced in college. Her father coaches at the Naval Academy and her two sisters train at the DC Fencers Club.
“It's basically our life,” Sirico told us.
She parlayed her fencing skill into a scholarship at Notre Dame where she has to parry swords and bad pickup lines.
“I had a boy who tried to flirt with me by being like, "You’re so on point!’” she laughed.
Boys should watch out though. Even though she might not look it, Amanda is intense. One coach said her yell after winning a match is like a lioness protecting her cubs.
Amanda's skill has taken her all over the globe and she has her sights set on Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
“She can do whatever she wants,” said her coach.
“Gold in the Olympics – that's my goal,” Amanda said.
She doesn't want to win gold for the glory or the fame or for her own Wheaties box. Sirico wants to win gold for her country and for her father.
“To be able to win gold and hear the national anthem,” she told us. “My dad is in the military so the national anthem has always meant so much to me. Just being able to hear it and me being the reason of representing my country and have it be played would just be amazing.”